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Doctor Octopus isn't Spider-Man's Arch Enemy?

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May 19th 2018 at 4:20:00 PM

I have often wondered why Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin is often touted as the #1 Arch-Enemy to Spider-Man. The reason being is that there is no real parallel between them. He's not the Foil or even the Evil Counterpart and his opening claim to the title is Gwen Stacey's death which he was just indirectly responsible for. Sure he's the dad of the best friend and is sometimes a substitute uncle figure for Peter but is a familial connection enough? Lex Luthor and The Joker don't need it and other heroes have villains in their rogues gallery who they are related to but are not even anywhere close to Arch Enemy status. He has the advantage of messing with both Peter Parker's and Spider-Man's lives but any villain who takes that strategy is going to rile the hero up no matter who it is.

I guess my problem with him is his established characterisation and themes make no sense for an arch enemy whereas in Doc Ock's case he totally does make sense Not only is he the evil version of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker he's also the opposite. They both are based on eight-limbed species, are as much geniuses as each other, are prone to power trips with their abilities, are influenced by the deaths of their relatives (Uncle Ben. Otto Octavius's parents.) Where they differ is the tagline of Peter's life. "With great power comes great responsibility." Peter dedicates his power to heroism whereas Otto dedicates his own to hoard more power for himself. Even at the expense of the lives and well-being of others.

So I wanted to put this forward and see what you think of my view. If you still believe Norman is the Arch Enemy then I hope it can be explained to me.

edited 19th May '18 4:21:16 PM by Imoo57

Luminosity ahuhuhuhuhu from the mother of all drills Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
May 19th 2018 at 5:09:59 PM

Simple. Doc Ock has had no defined character all the way until Superior. He was a generic mad scientist with no specific goal, and post-Superior still kind of is. He has no interesting bits to him, nothing to really speak of, the last time they did anything remotely new to him was all the way back when he freaking dated aunt May. Not to mention, Doc Ock is lame power-wise. There's no reason Spidey should have as much trouble with him as he often does, all he has to go is dodge the tentacles and deck his face. And let's face it - Doc Ock does not have the genius to go around that, all he does is build things with zero strategy to them. He should be the mastermind in the shadows plotting, instead he's about as menacing as Dr Eggman and about as outdated of an archetype.

It's very telling when Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 had to give Ock characterization, it just stole Green Goblin's split personality thing and did it a second time. Since then and before, actually, several adaptations gave Green Goblin justice. The animated series, the Spectacular, etc... while in any of them, Ock once again had barely anything to offer and was never salvaged into greatness like Venom was in animated series.

Again, the only time Ock ever approached being an interesting character was Superior Spider-Man. And for an original Lee/Ditko villain, that's just fucking sad.

Norman Osborn is the true Evil Counterpart to Peter. Why? He understands the allure and escapism of the secret identity, something very few supervillains actually do, and thus he goes through the same thing as Peter, but with a warped sense of responsibility. Peter always put his family in a spot of huge importance - uncle Ben and aunt May define a lot of things in his life. Similarly, Norman is also family-focused, but to him family is a tool, something to exploit to build his legacy upon without regard of the people. His loss of Emily Osborn also darkly parallels the Gwen thing. Norman knows full-well that the loss of a loved partner is one of the worst things to inflict on a person because he experienced it himself. And thus he sees himself in Peter sometimes, and acts like a darkly father figure.

As for the opposites, to put it in really simple terms - Peter is a lower-class young man who loves his family and puts it before himself. Osborn is an upper-class old man who neglects and abuses his family for the sake of personal gain. The dynamics write themselves.

There is no one in Peter's rogues gallery who is as personal, as driven, and as capable of such great lengths as Osborn. He might not be the smartest or the most cautious, but he's the guy that acts and for a comic book plot, that's what's the most imporant thing about a villain. There's always something new with him. Thunderbolts. Dark Reign. Goblin Nation. The "Osborn runs ISIS" thing. And now he has the Carnage symbiote with one of the coolest damn designs I have ever seen in a modern comic book. Unlike certain other villains, there's a lot more experimental stuff with him and thus he never truly gets stale.

Not to mention, his unique arsenal and powers still unrepresented in any other hero's gallery make for some effin' cool fights.

But if you want a definitive story as to why Norman Osborn is the greatest of Spider-Man's villains - read the Death in the Family in Peter Parker Spider-Man vol 2 44-47 by Paul Jenkins. That story's emotional depth is unrivaled by anything Doc Ock can put out.

edited 19th May '18 5:21:29 PM by Luminosity

Sigilbreaker26 Serial Procrastinator
Serial Procrastinator
May 19th 2018 at 6:06:06 PM

First of all, this topic really belongs in the main Spiderman thread.

Second of all, Doc Ock is fantastic in the Spectacular Spider Man cartoon.

"And when the last law was down and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, the laws all being flat?"
HandsomeRob Return of the Gangsta Bear! from Moopet Theatre Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Return of the Gangsta Bear!
May 19th 2018 at 7:35:03 PM

He was definitely spectacular in Spectacular.

As I understand it, Ock was the biggest foe of Peter (for killing George Stacy) up until Norman topped him with the death of Gwen.

There was the whole Master Planner thing, which lead to Amazing Spiderman 33.

edited 19th May '18 9:41:54 PM by HandsomeRob

Once again, wokka wokka!
May 19th 2018 at 7:40:15 PM

No, his greatest plan to harm Spider-Man has always been the one that he himself was unaware was a plan: dating Aunt May!

HandsomeRob Return of the Gangsta Bear! from Moopet Theatre Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Return of the Gangsta Bear!
May 19th 2018 at 8:03:42 PM

Well, he probably became aware of it when he took over Peter's body.

I wonder if he himself ever noted the irony?

Once again, wokka wokka!
May 20th 2018 at 2:05:48 AM

Posting this in the Spider-Man thread. And Luminosity has good points.

May 21st 2018 at 10:50:43 AM

This should be in the Spider Man thread. Hollering for a lock.

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